Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tough Workout

I had a really hard time getting through my workout this morning. Hubby and I  lifted weights yesterday afternoon, and I really pushed myself. I finished the workout with 20 intense minutes on the stair climber.

Last night the toddler woke up before midnight because of a nightmare, and I had the brilliant idea of bringing him into our bed. We have had a lot of changes lately, and I just wanted him to feel safe and not alone. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get comfortable and fidgeted around until 5:50 a.m. when he declared that it was time to turn on the lights. I think I was awake most of the night…

Today was my cardio day, and I had planned on 45 minutes on the elliptical. I haven’t done a longer cardio session all week, so I really wanted to get one in. I sleep much better when I do a good amount of cardio. But after only a few minutes, I knew that it would be tough. Often, once I push through the first 15 to 20 minutes, I find my groove and make it through the rest of my workout. Not today. After 20 minutes I knew I needed to stop. I decided to do some back extensions and Pilates moves, and then hopped on the stair climber for 15 minutes. I had planned on 25 minutes, but, again, I felt really burned out after only 15. I stretched and did some more Pilates, and then finished another 10 minutes on the elliptical.

I’m glad I got in a total of 45 minutes of cardio and that I kept the intensity high. Breaking up the 45 minutes really helped me get through the workout. And I think now I’ll try to take a short 15 to 20 minute nap to catch up on some sleep…

Questions: What are your strategies to get through a tough workout? What workouts do you have planned for this weekend?
Happy Saturday!

Be well,

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Have A Secret

As you may remember, a while back Newman’s Own Organics sent us a big box of goodies to sample. And the cookie monster, aka hubby, was very happy as I wrote about here and here. I should add that the teenager got more than his fair share as well. He opened the Fig Newmans one day and before I could get one, they were gone (I think the cookie monster got a few as well, but they were mainly consumed by the teenager who said they reminded him of his childhood…). The teenager also enjoyed the dried apricots (soooooo good) as well as some of the Newman-Os.

My point is that my family has been thoroughly enjoying the Newman’s Own Organics products. Well, most of them at least. I made sure that they wouldn’t have access to all the items in the box because I hid the chocolate from them… (But I should mention that I gave the Milk Chocolate and the Mocca Milk Chocolate to my brother-in-law when he was visiting us, and he loved them both.)

So when I have a quiet moment (which happens very rarely), I enjoy a piece of chocolate. Sometimes I add just a tiny bit of raw almond butter, but usually I just enjoy a piece in peace. It’s wonderful… My little mini vacation. It’s really about savoring the moment and making it last. One piece goes a long way… If you truly experience the one piece and are mindful, there is no need to eat half the bar or even the entire bar…

Well, since hubby is reading this blog every day and the teenager once in a while, I guess my secret is out… But I really think you guys got your fair share!

Question: What is your secret pleasure? Please share, no one will know… :)
Be well,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Michael Pollan and First Blogger Meet Up

Did you catch Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Food Rules, on Oprah earlier today (Wednesday)? I did, and I really enjoyed hearing him speak, especially because I knew I would hear him again, in person, later in the evening! And I was even more excited because I was going to meet two bloggers, Michelle (who used to blog but isn’t currently, but we may have convinced her to start again!), and Lara from Thinspired! It was great to meet both of them! Thank you Michelle for bringing us together and for alerting us to this great, free event! Also, thank you for the super cute bag and towel!

Michael Pollan (on the right) was interviewed by San Jose Mercury News Columnist Mike Cassidy.

I really enjoyed the Q & A. I find Michael Pollan’s approach to food and what’s wrong with the food industry and what should and can be done to change the status quo commonsensical and realistic. Eating whole, unprocessed, real foods is what I try to do in my own life (although there is certainly room for improvement).

I also like that he stresses that people should invest more time into preparing food and into learning how to cook. While he acknowledges that fast food and highly processed foods are very cheap, partly because they are heavily subsidized, he also points out that people should get back to cooking and that it’s really not that expensive to cook a big pot of vegetable soup and that beans, for example, are a great, cheap source of protein.

He advocates eating less meat and states that reducing ones meat consumption makes the biggest difference in reducing one’s carbon footprint. He points out that the average American eats over 200 pounds of meat per year, which accounts for 1/4 of his/her carbon footprint. If the average American reduces his/her meat consumption by only 20%, the impact is the same as switching from a gas guzzler to a Prius!

I also loved that he finished on a positive note and said that he was optimistic that change is possible. While he doesn’t think that fast food and processed foods will go away, he believes that there will be more, better options for people to choose from and that more people becoming aware of what’s wrong is a step in the right direction.

After the talk, we got our books signed!

We then headed to Whole Foods to chat some more. We stayed until they closed at 10:00!

It was a great evening, and it was so nice to get out, meet two great fellow bloggers in the area, and hear a great, free talk! It’s just what I needed…

Questions: Did you see Michael Pollan on Oprah? If so, what did you think? Have you read any of Michael Pollan’s books? If so, what is one thing that really stuck out for you? Finally, any fun blogger meet ups to report on?
Be well,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Favorite Poem

Life has been quite overwhelming lately. And whenever I feel overwhelmed, I go back to the “Attitude Poem.” I like this poem so much that I regularly share it with my students, and many of them have told me how much they like it.

Attitude is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success,
than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company, a home, a relationship.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice, every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day.
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that other people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90 % how I react to it.

- Charles Swindoll

Questions: Do you like to read quotes or poems for motivation, encouragement, and perspective? What is your favorite quote or poem?
Be well,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quick Date and Weekly Meals

Hubby and I recently went on a quick date. Actually, we mainly ran some errands, but we also got a quick bite to eat.

We shared some seared Ahi tuna with some pickled vegetables as well as a salad with goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate seeds.


And for dessert, we split a banana bread pudding. Hubby commented that the dessert looked a bit strange… But it was very good!

On to this week’s meals:

Tuesday: Leak soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday: Wrapped Up Wednesday: I’ll wrap sautéed shrimp and veggies into Savoy Cabbage leaves. I received two small heads of Savoy Cabbage in my CSA delivery and will cut up one for a salad and take the other one apart to use as “wrappers.”

Thursday: Butternut squash soup with quinoa.

Friday: Salad Friday.

Question: What’s your favorite soup at the moment?
Be well,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Simple, Fresh Salad and Some Awards

Yesterday’s dinner was a simple red leaf salad with sliced radishes and a maple mustard dressing that was inspired by Averie’s Maple Ginger Dijon Vinaigrette. I had seen the dressing several times over the past week on Averie’s blog and thought it sounded great. Unfortunately, I was in a real hurry when I was making the salad, and I didn’t have time to look it up. I used pretty much the same ingredients, but I think my proportions were quite different. It still tasted good, but I’ll follow Averie’s recipe next time...

Over the past few weeks, I have received several awards, and I have been really slow to post about them. But here we finally go.

Kelly from Fitting Back In, Meg from Be Fit Be Full, and Kasey from Fit for Wellness each awarded me the Beautiful Blogger Award.

beautifulbloggeraward (fittingbackin; be fit be full meg; Kasey )

Nicole from Prevention RD passed on the Happy 101 Award to me.
 happy_101 (preventionrd_Nicole)

I am supposed to share 10 things that make me happy:
  1. My family;
  2. My friends;
  3. Playing in rain puddles;
  4. Seeing the toddler in his rain coat and rain boots;
  5. The toddler telling me that he loves me;
  6. The teenager telling me that he loves me;
  7. Hubby telling me that he loves me (there is no particular reason for this order!)
  8. Family dinners with good fresh food, laughter, and sharing of what happened during our day;
  9. Running into former students and them telling me that they still remember what I taught them years ago; and
  10. Nature hikes.
Finally, Kristi from Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right awarded me with the Honest Scrap Award.

honestscrap (mother rimmy_Kristi)

In honor of all these awards, I’m going to share ten things with you that you may not know about me.
  1. I was attacked by a dog when I was a toddler and am still working on getting over my fear of dogs. Once I get to know a dog, I’m okay. But I’m still often afraid of dogs I don’t know, although I’m getting better. Over the years, my fear has stopped me from going into stores, made me cross the street a ridiculous amount of times, etc.
  2. I used to love to swim far out into the ocean. However, after several shark attacks in the area, I realized that may not be the smartest thing to do…
  3. I can make myself fall asleep during scary movies. I even made myself fall asleep in the movie theater before!
  4. We canceled cable T.V. in June and moved the T.V. into a space where really only the toddler can watch his PBS shows.
  5. Living without a T.V. has been easier than I thought it would be, but I do miss watching my favorite shows at home: Mad Men, Food Network, and trashy shows on Bravo that served as guilty pleasures).
  6. I watch Food Network shows or trashy Bravo shows at the gym while doing my cardio; it’s a great motivator!
  7. I would love to live in San Diego.
  8. There have been times when blogging became too overwhelming for me, and I wanted to quit. But I realized that my blog truly enriches my life, and it’s all about finding balance…
  9. For many years, I used to be “over-punctual.” I would get everywhere at least 15 minutes early.
  10. When I was younger, I seriously disliked chocolate. Only in recent years have I started to enjoy chocolate.
Thank you Kelly, Meg, Kasey, Nicole, and Kristi for the awards. I truly appreciate receiving them, and I truly enjoy all of your blogs!

Whenever I get an award, I reflect upon how blogging has enriched my life because it makes me focus on some of the good things in my life. I truly enjoy everyone’s comments and e-mails. And I love reading your blogs and am learning so much. At the same time, as I mentioned above, blogging can get overwhelming if you let it take over your life. It’s good to remember that it’s all about balance… Okay, it’s time for all of you to share a bit about yourselves.

Questions: What makes YOU happy? What is one random fact we don’t know about YOU? And how do you achieve a life/blog balance?
Be well,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Great CSA Delivery

I think this week’s CSA delivery was the best one so far. Here is what we got:

And here is what I’m planning to do with the fruits and veggies:
  • Tangerines – eat as is
  • Pears – eat as is
  • Baby Bok Choy – stir fry, probably with mushrooms
  • Savoy Cabbage – I love to slice it thinly and marinate it a bit in salad dressing. I have used TJ’s Goddess dressing before, but I’ll make one of my one dressings this time.
  • Avocadoes – I love avocado on dark, crusty, whole grain bread, but the toddler already spotted the avocados and declared that they are his!
  • Butternut Squash – I think I’ll make some butternut squash soup.
  • Cauliflower – I’ll make smashed cauliflower with cheese and herbs.
  • Red Leaf Lettuce and Red Radishes – They will marry and make a nice salad tonight!
  • Leeks – I'll make some more leek soup.
  • Red Norland Potatoes – Not sure yet, but it may be time for eggs again potatoes...
Question: What are you cooking/eating/drinking/baking this weekend?
Be well,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Unplanned Farmers’ Market Trip

I had to take my car in to get my flat tire fixed. Well, actually, first I had to call AAA to come and pump it up, and then we went to get it fixed and were told that we really needed new tires as well as a bunch of other work done to the car… Quite an expensive flat tire… Anyway, the car place is right next to a Farmers’ Market. We were lucky and the rain stopped for a little while, and we decided to make the best out of a not so great situation and enjoyed the market. The toddler was particularly interested in the puddles…

Since today is our CSA delivery day, I didn’t want to buy too much, but I picked up two bunches of kale (one can never have enough kale!), tomatoes, as well as some Indian food. The Indian food samples were delicious, and I got sort of carried away and bought things without a plan… Oh well… It happens.


Question: What was your most recent (unexpected) food splurge buy?
Be well,

Winner of Core Performance for Women

Here are all the entries:

I hired the toddler again to help me pick the winner of Core Performance for Women, which I recently reviewed. I have to admit that the toddler was a bit distracted as I asked him to draw the name while he was watching Curious George
And the winner is

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather, please email me your address at andreaswellnessnotes[at]gmail[dot]com, and I will forward it to the publisher of Core Performance for Women who will mail the book directly to you.

I’m sorry that not all of you could win. But I’m currently reading another book that I’m very much enjoying, and I’ll have another giveaway soon.

Question: What are your weekend plans? My car has a flat tire, and I need to get it fixed. It’s also raining a lot, so I’m sure there will be some more puddle fun in our future…

Be well,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Cookie Monster Strikes Again

Well, it was only a matter of time that hubby asked for more cookies from the box that Newman’s Own Organics sent us to sample a while back. And this time he convinced me that we should open two bags at the same time: one “for us” and one “for the toddler.” He chose the Newman’s Own Organics Orange Chocolate cookies for “us.” I had one as soon as he opened the bag, just to make sure I would get one… And it was a good thing I did because when I wanted to get another one a few days later, they were all gone… I really enjoyed the orange/chocolate combo, and I liked that the cookies were small.

“For the toddler” he chose the Newman’s Own Organics Cinnamon Graham Alphabet Cookies.

I have to say that the toddler truly enjoyed a few of “his” cookies, but I certainly noticed that the majority of the cookies were eaten by none other than the cookie monster, aka hubby! I also enjoyed a few of the cinnamon graham cookies; they are delicious. I love all things with cinnamon, and alphabet cookies are just so much fun… Plus they are small, and the serving size is 10 cookies and 120 calories (I think; I’m writing this from memory…). I felt very satisfied with just 5 cookies and still got my cinnamon/sugar fix.

Question: What’s your favorite cookie? I think I’d have to say snickerdoodles; I told you I love cinnamon…

And don’t forget, you still have until tonight, Thursday, January 21 at 9:00 p.m. PST to enter my Core Performance for Women giveaway. The toddler will draw a winner tomorrow morning, and I will post the winner later in the day.

Be well,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forgotten Recipe: Spicy Baked Eggplant with Wasabi Mayonnaise and Basil

One of the reasons I started this blog was to not “forget” about recipes. I tend to get mildly obsessed with certain ingredients and/or recipes and then make a certain dish over and over and over again. Usually, at one point my family gets sick of the dish and asks me not to make it for a while. And when I don’t make something for a while, I sometimes forget about it for a long time. This is what happened with eggplant. I recently realized that we haven’t had eggplant in a very long time, so I picked one up at the store (along with some daffodils).

After I picked it up, I realized that I didn’t exactly remember how I used to make it. I had a general idea, but I wasn’t sure about specifics. (At one point, many years ago, I used to put salt on the eggplant slices and let the water drain out in a colander; but that's not necessary with this recipe). Unfortunately, since it’s such an easy “recipe,” I had never written it down. Another reason I love this blog is that I actually write down my simple, “no brain” recipes. It’s actually quite helpful to know specifics when it comes to cooking…

Luckily, what I did with the eggplant slices worked out very well. They turned out very flavorful and crunchy on the outside and not at all soggy on the inside (hubby's words).

  • 1 eggplant, cut into slices
  • 2 eggs, beaten (one egg would have probably been enough as I had quite a bit of leftover egg)
  • 1 tablespoon Wasabi mayonnaise
  • salt (optional – I used very little)
  • pepper (optional – I used very little)
  • A few drops of hot sauce (I may have used a few too many drops...)
  • About 6 tablespoons bread crumbs; I actually used some crushed crackers
  • Dried basil
I started by cutting the eggplant into slices. Next I beat the eggs and then added the Wasabi mayonnaise. I seasoned the mixture with a little bit of salt, pepper, and a few drops of hot sauce. Then I dipped each eggplant slice into the egg mixture, letting any extra egg mixture run off. Next I dipped the eggplant slices into the breadcrumbs, which I had mixed with dried basil.

Here are the eggplant slices before I put them into the oven.

I baked the eggplant slices at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then turned the slices over and and baked them for an additional 12 minutes.

I will be making this dish, or a version therefore, again soon. The only problem was that the hot sauce and the Wasabi mayo made it a bit too spicy for the toddler. I think he in fact ended up with the spiciest slice in the batch (I must have not mixed it together all that well) and told me rather quickly that it was too hot. It's pretty cool that he now knows that "hot" refers to temperature as well as level of spiciness...

Questions: Do you like eggplant? If so, what is your favorite way to eat it? What are your "forgotten" foods that you should make again?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway. You have a chance to win a copy of Core Performance for Women. In fact, you can get a total of up to five entries. The giveaway is open until Thursday, January 21 at 9:00 p.m. PST.

Be well,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fun in the Rain and Weekly Meals

We have been getting quite a bit of rain lately, and the toddler has been enjoying his new rain boots and rain coat. One day when we came home, he had tons of water in his boots, but he was still upset that we said it was time to go home and take a nice, warm bath…


On to this week’s meals:

Tuesday: Baked Eggplant and a Salad – We haven’t had eggplant in years; I had totally “forgotten” about it…

Wednesday: Wrapped Up Wednesday: Salmon, marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and then grilled. We’ll wrap the salmon into lettuce leaves and top it with a lemon/cucumber/dill yogurt sauce.

Thursday: Kimchi Stew (Korean Pickled Napa Cabbage) and Rice

Friday: Salad Friday. What it’ll be will depend on the CSA delivery.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway. It is open until Thursday, January 21 at 9:00 p.m. PST. You can get up to five entries.

Question: When was the last time you played in the rain? You are never too old…

Be well,